Photo Credit:
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.

The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution that the US said was Israel’s cease-fire proposal, calling for a “full and complete ceasefire,” the release of the hostages, dead and alive, who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, 2023, in exchange for terrorist prisoners. Fourteen of the 15 Council members voted in favor, with Russia abstaining.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said Monday night that this resolution will remain on paper only. “Since the beginning of the escalation in Gaza, the Council has already adopted three resolutions, with their implementation remaining on paper only. These resolutions could be joined by the fourth one,” Nebenzya told the UNSC. “This cannot be called a positive trend at all.”


US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield was more optimistic, calling it “the only way to end this cycle of violence and build a durable peace is through a political settlement.”

The resolution outlines a three-stage process. Phase one involves an immediate ceasefire, a prisoner exchange where terrorists would be released from Israeli prisons in return for freeing all the hostages held by Hamas and other groups, allowing displaced Gazans to return home, and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

The second phase stipulates establishing a permanent ceasefire contingent on agreement from both sides. The third and final phase comprises a multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza as well as the delivery to Israel of the remains of deceased hostages.

Which brings us back to Vasily Nebenzya’s astute comment that none of this is going to happen, because the resolution is based on a lie: Israel never agreed to end the war before Hamas was eliminated.

The resolution suggests that the Israeli “proposal says if the negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the cease-fire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.” In other words, all Hamas will have to do to live to fight another day is fail to free the hostages within the agreed timeframe and instead pick the timeframe that suits its needs. Did Israel propose this?

Here’s another part of the UNSC resolution: it rejects “any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip, including any actions that reduce the territory of Gaza.” But Israel has already created new buffer zones along the Gaza Strip border, on Gazan territory, to prevent the next October 7 attack on its civilians. Would Israel endorse taking down those buffer zones? Vasily doesn’t think so.

Israel’s UN envoy Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly did not confirm that Israel accepted the resolution, never mind proposed it. She did repeat the Israeli line that had been in place since October 7, namely, “We will continue until all of the hostages are returned and Hamas’s military capabilities are dismantled.”

Hamas issued a statement saying it “welcomes what is included in the Security Council resolution that affirmed the permanent cease-fire in Gaza, the complete withdrawal, the prisoners’ exchange, the reconstruction, the return of the displaced to their areas of residence, the rejection of any demographic change or reduction in the area of the Gaza Strip, and the delivery of needed aid to our people in the Strip.”

This is why Vasily Nebenzya called the American resolution “a pig in a poke.”

The term was first mentioned by English playwright John Heywood (1497-1580): “I wyll neuer bye the pyg in the poke / Thers many a foule pyg in a feyre cloke” (I will never buy the pig in the poke / There’s many a foul pig in a fair cloak).

They still teach liberal arts at Moscow University!

Vasily told the Council: “We always treat any diplomatic efforts on the ground, aimed at reconciliation under parameters that satisfy both sides, positively. At the same time, we have a number of questions for the American draft resolution, in which the Council welcomes a certain deal, the final outline of which is still unknown to anyone, with a possible exception of the mediators. The authors have not informed the UN Security Council about the details of the deal. Effectively, we are being offered a pig in a poke.”

I have news for you, Vasily, when you get this piggy out of its poke you’ll discover a whole lot of lipstick.

See how I merged two idioms to make a point? Anyway, despite the UNSC vote for a resolution that pits an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, let’s hope all this pitting will not take place on Shavuot when the Israeli fighters in Gaza have earned the right for a nice slice of cheesecake to be consumed in peace.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleIf I Could Be Like…
Next articleRabbi Berkovits On Megillat Ruth
David writes news at